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Over 600 children vaccinated in Welsh measles outbreak

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More than 600 children have now been given the MMR vaccination at sessions held in schools in Newport in response to a measles outbreak in South Wales, according to public health officials.

A total of 604 children have been immunised in the nearly three weeks since the outbreak was declared, said Public Health Wales, which especially thanked school nurses for their efforts.

“I would like to extend my thanks to colleagues, in particular school nursing services”

Heather Lewis

It highlighted that there had been no further confirmed cases of measles in the outbreak, which has so far affected five people.

The strain of measles has been identified as the same one causing outbreaks of the infection across Europe over the last few months.

Parents across Wales are urged to ensure that their children are vaccinated with two doses of MMR, especially if they are planning on visiting Europe over the summer or attending festivals in the UK.

The five cases of measles confirmed to date all have an association with Lliswerry High School in Newport. Vaccination sessions were initially held there and in six linked primary schools.

In addition, a rolling programme of vaccination sessions is underway in schools across Newport.

measles

Measles

Adults born since 1970, who have never had measles or the MMR vaccine, are also urged to ensure they contact their surgery about vaccination, especially if they work with children.

Heather Lewis, consultant in health protection for Public Health Wales, said: “I would like to extend my thanks to colleagues in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, in particular school nursing services, who have worked so hard to vaccinate so many children in such a short time.

“The numbers of children vaccinated and the lack of any new cases in the outbreak is not, however, cause for complacency,” she said.

“With measles circulating widely in Europe and only a short plane ride away, children who are not fully vaccinated remain at risk from this potentially deadly infection both at home and abroad,” she warned.

Uptake rates of MMR across the UK are still recovering following the drop in the early 2000s, following the publication of the now discredited claims about MMR by Andrew Wakefield.

The Swansea area was hit by an outbreak of measles in 2012-13, which was largely blamed on the fall in immunisation levels in the wake of the research scandal.

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